Climate Emergency UK’s new landmark report analyses the trends identified from the results of the Council Climate Action Scorecards, and for the first time quantifies the impact that different factors have on UK local authorities’ climate action.

The Scorecards Successes: What factors enable climate action within UK local authorities? report was published on 21st March, commissioned by Climate Emergency UK, and produced by sustainability consultants, Anthesis. The report analyses the Council Climate Action Scorecards to explore different council characteristics and see which of these impact positively or negatively on a council’s Scorecard result.

Some of the key highlights of the report include:

  • Political leadership, good climate governance and external funding have the biggest impact on enabling climate action within local authorities. 
  • Having a dedicated portfolio councillor for climate was found to improve a council’s Scorecards result by 11%, and access to external funding for climate action improved a council’s score by 9%
  • Other factors, such as having a published climate strategy with SMART targets and embedding area-wide climate targets in key documents also improved a council’s score by 9%

The report also includes recommendations for the UK and devolved governments, local authorities and communities, including residents and local businesses.

The report makes a clear call for area-wide climate action to be a statutory duty for all UK local authorities, as well as for national governments to provide more funding and simplify funding pots for net-zero. The report recommends to UK local authorities to embed climate action within governance structures, including having a dedicated portfolio holder for climate action, reporting their own emissions and producing annual reports on action, and placing climate as one of the key priorities within decision making processes. Finally, the report recommends that communities use the Scorecards and the report to encourage councils to take stronger climate action and be ready to support and play a partnership role to help councils create the future zero-emission communities we need to thrive.

Co-signers of the Foreword to the report, Cllr Marianne Overton MBE (Chair of the Independent Group and Vice-Chair of the Local Government Association), Cllr Karen Davies (Cabinet Member for Climate Change at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead) and Jon Burke MIEMA (Decarbonisation Lead at Gloucester City Council), welcomed the report stating “We hope you find this report useful in illuminating how far local authorities have come to meeting their own climate emergency goals and how much further we have to go.”